At House of Coco you know from our social updates we are all about positive vibes and looking after ourselves and so we are always keen to champion brands that represent our ethos. Recently we stumbled across BEING which is a handcrafted line of small batch, organic and vegan bath and body products based out of the Pacific Northwest.
BEING was born out of an intention to help people claim their right to take care of themselves. In this volatile world with ever-surging responsibilities, it’s easy to put yourself last and become disconnected.
Here we go behind the brand and spend some time with Cynthia Cortina, founder and maker, to find out more about her future plans for the brand…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
I launched it in January of 2015. I wanted to bring people pleasure in a bottle and help them to slow down, be in the moment, and in doing so, promoting self care.
Whats your background?
I had a career in marketing for a few years, which I loved, but I always knew I wanted to do my own thing. My heritage also plays a role in how I view the world. I was born in Havana to multi-eth- nic parents, so my perspective has been colored by contrast: privileged vs impoverished, Catholic upbringing vs Santeria practices, traditional vs non-traditional methods of healing, not to mention the nuances of language between Spanish and English. I infuse my brand with the same approach to contrast as I do other areas of my life, which makes for its eco-chic aesthetic – the ingredients are as granola as it gets, but this doesn’t sacrifice style.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
It’s just me! Occasionally, my wonderful husband steps in to help on some of the technical things and financial advice, but for the most part, I’m a one woman show!
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I would try to build a following on social media prior to launching the brand. In the beginning, I felt like I was speaking to an empty room many times. Not so much the case now, but given more time and resources, I would’ve liked to do more of a proper pre-game leading up to the launch.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Juggling all the work that needs to be done. I’m making, bottling, packaging, writing content, calling retailers, and doing the marketing and admin work. I’m at a point now where I need extra help, but when you’re a small business, you need to scale slowly and strategically, which is a delicate dance.
2015 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
Since I launched just a few months ago, I would like to establish a presence here on the home front first before making concerted efforts to expand into other markets.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Being asked to be part of a mentor group for makers. Helping guide others is something I do already with friends and family, so this was a nat- ural fit.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
New York! I instantly felt like I belonged the first time I visited as an adult. It’s a city of contrasts: grunge and high-fashion. There’s a special energy to the city that I’ve never felt anywhere else. Moreover, despite it being a huge cosmopolitan city, there’s a real sense of community and a notion of “we’re all in this together” that I love.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Toner, moisturizer and BB cream with sunscreen. I’m very minimalist when it comes to make-up (most times I don’t wear it), but my skin needs to be protected and hydrated when facing the world.
Best thing about London to you?
The people. I had some of the best times there thanks to my British friends who were fun, smart and didn’t have many of the same hangups we Americans do.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Tough one! Statement shoe. I’ve got long legs and like to ac- centuate them here and there. 🙂
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
My Banana Republic jeans. I’m very practical when it comes to clothing and I’m usually in jeans or something that I can rush around in. I should also point out that I’m very squirrely and always on the move.
Favourite love song?
You Make Loving Fun (Fleetwood Mac) Best place for a coffee? Ozone in Shoreditch
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
“People need to trust you.” I try to act with integrity in everything I do to earn that trust.
Karaoke! I don’t have the best singing voice but love to perform, so it’s perfect.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
It’s not the sexiest answer, but I’d spend it with family. They’re at the core of who I am, including my drive, directness, and sense of humor, which can sometimes be a little offbeat. They also live in Miami, so it’s not a terribly bad place to visit. 😉
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
I would like to expand the range to include a wider variety of body care products plus products for men, as well.
Photography : Candace Molatore